Gotta tell you, I’d be a lot more interested in seeing Iowa play both Northern Iowa and Drake in men’s basketball than playing Virginia Tech once.
This ACC-Big Ten Challenge is entering its 14th year, and the Hawkeyes will be making their 12th appearance (they weren’t part of it in 2003 and 2004). Iowa played Virginia Tech in 2006 and 2009. Quick, tell me something (anything) about those games.
Iowa is the only team Virginia Tech has beaten (twice) in the Challenge. The Hokies are 0-5 otherwise. Iowa, meanwhile, is 2-9 in Challenge history.
Virginia Tech was 16-17 last season, then fired coach Seth Greenberg. Just last week, new Hokies coach James Johnson lost freshman Dorian Finney-Smith and Greenberg’s top recruit for next year, Montrezi Harrell. So the team has just eight scholarship players returning for next season.
Which sounds like Iowa after Fran McCaffery stepped in two years ago. And it sounds like about everywhere else where they have a coaching change. Or don’t have one.
When you think ACC, you think basketball. But you don’t think Virginia Tech, a football school. It has made just one appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney since 1997. It hasn’t gotten out of the first week of the NCAAs since 1967.
If the Challenge has brought November excitement, Iowa hasn’t been part of it. The Hawkeyes have yet to be paired with North Carolina in the event, and were partnered with Duke just once, in Chicago in 2000.
This year, North Carolina will play at Indiana. Ohio State goes to Duke. An up-and-coming North Carolina State team is at Michigan. For the complete Challenge schedule, click here.
For Iowa (18-17 last season) to get one of the marquee ACC names on its schedule, it will have to take care of business during next season and offer promise of being a Top 25 team in the year after that.
If the Hawkeyes make it to the 2013 NCAAs, I wouldn’t rule out a North Carolina-Iowa game in Iowa City in November 2013. Sophomore Carolina guard Marcus Paige of Linn-Mar against sophomore Iowa guard Mike Gesell. Iowa’s Adam Woodbury against whatever big man or big men the Tar Heels are rolling out at that time. It could happen.
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